August 11, 2014
Living Classrooms Foundation took a confident stride into the future with its completion of the TCAP Summer program this July. In an ever evolving world, the STEM based curriculum developed for this camp effectively enticed students into looking at basic principles of science, technology, engineering and math in a new light. Living Classrooms Foundation encouraged students to apply their new knowledge with an entrepreneurial spirit, and through successful partnerships, introduced them to new opportunities available to them in an exciting and rapidly developing field. Upon their completion of this two week long program, students had built their own UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), practiced on flight simulators, created flight plans, delved into the concept of flight and all that in entails, and successfully captured unique aerial photographs of their city using several different types of UAVs. These vehicles served as a medium for imparting lessons on job opportunities, community improvement, and economic development. Students enrolled in the 2 week long camp were given the unique opportunity to become engineers, pilots and entrepreneurs as they mastered the art of flying UAVs in order to take aerial photographs of the city of Baltimore. In recognizing that the UAV industry represents one of the largest growing STEM markets in present day America, Living Classrooms strategically partnered with Belinda and Terry Kilby, founders of Elevated Element, in order to introduce the students to successful entrepreneurs with a first mover advantage, thereby inspiring them to think about new and exciting career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math. When the students were introduced the images captured by Elevated Element, many of which have gone on to receive international acclaim in such magazines as National Geographic, the students were inspired by the fact that their new knowledge can open doors for them. The TCAP summer camp was organized in such a way that students spent the mornings in the classroom learning the necessary skills to safely fly a UAV, and the afternoons outside getting real world experience. Experiences were enhanced by a field trip to AAI, and another to the Digital Harbor Foundation, both of which showed students the many different components that go into entrepreneurship with relation to the UAV industry. Students were given the opportunity to learn about and watch 3D printers create, and were encouraged to ask inquisitive questions to the engineers and businesspeople on the staff as they built up their knowledge base. During the course of the two weeks, students were introduced to multiple real world applications of UAVs in numerous industries, from photography to environmental advocacy, to logistics and rescue operations, there was no shortage of strong examples that proved the emerging UAV market is both multifaceted and fascinating. The Turning the Corner Achievement Program summer camp was rooted in hands on learning per Living Classrooms motto, learning by doing, and students got down to the basics on day one, when they deconstructed and then rebuilt their own UAVs. This process enabled the students to understand how the devices function on a rudimentary level, and grabbed their attention right from the get-go. In order to capture the interest of young people in the modern world, education has to keep up with the ever evolving advances in science and technology. Students in the TCAP summer program were able to apply basic concepts of engineering and math as they worked towards becoming real pilots and thought about ways to convert their classroom lessons into real world business ventures. It is the hope of Living Classrooms Foundation that innovative curriculums like the TCAP Summer UAV campus will hook students on science, technology, engineering and math and inspire them to explore career opportunities in rapidly growing industries that will afford them with unique and transformational experiences. Through a new and exciting partnership with Alchemy Learning Software, a digital, interactive curriculum was developed that complimented the hands-on lesson plans beautifully. Moving forward, the graduates of the program are continuing to build their experience with UAVs, leading up to a demonstration that will be put on during Living Classrooms. White House Summit on STEM in Baltimore this fall. The Foundation is confident that this summer program will serve as a springboard for its participants and stand as strong example of the innovative approaches taken in order to emphasize entrepreneurship with relation to science, technology, engineering and math- inspiring a new generation of enthusiastic and creative leaders.